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FEB. 17, 2015

So, What Did You Do This Weekend?

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Amanda Wheelock, OA Resident & Wilderness Leader

As a resident, I get a lot of questions – from parents, potential students, and even my own friends – about what sorts of things OA students do on the weekends around campus. It’s a difficult question to answer, because no two weekends look the same here. Sometimes we get deeply embroiled in philosophical discussions about the nature of the “self” with Franklin, while other times we might just make pillow forts and tell ghost stories in the den.

This past weekend, though, provides a great snapshot of how OA students might find themselves engaged when they’re not in classes. On Friday, the students dove into the topics of identity, privilege, and race for a cornerstone day that featured a lot of tough questions and few easy answers. Arrington, Rodrigo and I asked the students to examine their own identities and how belonging to certain groups has shaped their experiences. Students discussed their own definitions of race, trying to determine if it is biological, social, both, or maybe even neither, and learned about times in American history when race has been used to oppress certain groups.

We also participated in an Oxfam Hunger Banquet (, during which many students were asked to put themselves in the position of someone born without many of the privileges our students are lucky to have been given. We ended the day talking about race in America today, focusing on current events and what we can do to address intolerance, regardless of where we see it.

The Rich


The Poor

I was thrilled to hear the day’s conversations carry over into dinner and even cabin time that night, but after a long day of thinking and discussion, Grace, Franklin and I knew that our students needed some plain old fun, so we headed to the Old Lodge for a game of ga-ga ball. Despite the cold, the students even rallied for a game of hide and seek in the dark before we fired up the woodstoves and headed to bed.

Valentines 1

Saturday brought even more excitement, as we awoke to a Valentine’s Day surprise organized by some of the girls, who had decorated the Sun Lodge with hearts, tealights, and goofy pickup lines. Grace even made heart-shaped biscuits for breakfast! Then, we traveled off campus with Rodrigo to a local flea market with many Hispanic vendors. Our Spanish-speaking students were charged with buying ingredients for the evening’s dinner, and all the students enjoyed sampling pupusas, tortas, and churros for lunch.

We returned home and students split up for work crews – some cleaned the kitchen and helped Rodrigo make a fantastic dinner, others helped Ryan prepare the garden for spring, while still others split and moved wood to ensure that we would stay warm this week. Just before dinner, the students were summoned and received invitations from Gabe, playing the butler for the evening, to a murder mystery party, taking place at their 40th reunion in Isabel’s mansion. Everyone rushed about preparing costumes and characters, and by the end of dinner, the intrigue was in full swing. Eventually, the students came together to figure out “whodunit,” and the party was declared a smashing success.

After all that, we treated ourselves to a quiet Sunday. We slept in, ate a delicious French toast brunch prepared in part by Blakely and Annabelle, and cleaned our cabins. In the afternoon, those who didn’t leave to visit friends and family played board games in the den and knitted their hats, and then we all were reunited in time to enjoy Franklin’s homemade pizza.

So there you have it: another “average” OA weekend in the books!

Amanda Wheelock, OA Resident & Wilderness Leader